Should I Choose IB or A Levels?

If you're looking for a more flexible curriculum that allows you to take a variety of subjects while having multiple exam date options, A-levels are the perfect option for you. On the other hand, if you're looking for a more rigorous program, the IB is the right choice. Generally speaking, the IB will take longer than the A levels. Ultimately, the decision between the IB Diploma and A-levels must depend on what the student wants to achieve, both academically and in life.

Both Level A and the IB Diploma benefit students who have decided on a specialization program. The IB Diploma can be an advantage in keeping options open and offering a broader education and preparing students well for university studies and the workplace. The development of general knowledge in a broader subject level up to the age of 18 undoubtedly provides a very valuable skill set for the future, and the experiences offered by the additional basic elements of the DP can give the student a critical competitive advantage in their career by entering the university of their choice. Many parents find themselves weighing IB against A levels, so it's important to understand the main difference between these two programs. While the IB is designed for the development of a well-rounded student, A-Levels students can specialize.

For example, the IB would not normally allow students to study more than two sciences to make room for other subjects in the program. However, students who choose the A-Level route would have no problem studying three sciences (Physics, Biology and Chemistry, for example), especially if it would prepare them well for a course at the university where they have their hearts set. This route would prepare them well to have a very in-depth knowledge of these complementary areas of Science. Therefore, for students whose strengths lie in a very particular academic area, A-Levels provide an opportunity to specialize earlier. However, some students stand out for the breadth offered by the IB, while others benefit from A-Levels, which is a detailed program.

One confusion that most parents have, especially when their children are ready to move from elementary school to high school, is choosing a curriculum that helps with college admission. With all this in mind, it is possible that some of the differences between level A and level IB are becoming less pronounced. If you're wondering if you should be pursuing the IB or A levels, it's about what's best for you personally: both are well-respected academic degrees. The IB Diploma offers a different method of evaluation and an alternative philosophy to the way in which the Sixth Year should be approached. There are five full IB schools offering all three programs, including the IB Primary Years Program (PYP) and the IB Middle Years Program (MYP), and the (IBDP).

Levels A are the national high school English title, while the IB is an international degree that has no country of origin. A similarity between the IB Diploma and the A levels is that both qualifications are assessed by examinations at the end of a two-year period of study. The IB Diploma is suitable for students who want to maintain breadth in their choice of subjects and who are willing to work hard in a structured environment and tolerate tackling weak areas. It is assumed that the IB has a wider international acceptance than the A levels, but in practice, most IB students in Greece want to study in the UK. In addition, the IB also tends to prepare students for university-level work more effectively, as there are research papers that count towards their final grade (internal assessments and monograph) over two years, and not just final exams. Level A students are not asked to complete any meaningful class work outside of their regular courses, meaning they can devote their time entirely to their chosen subjects.

A levels are graded with letters, with A* being highest grade, while the IB uses a point system (the perfect score is 45 points), where 24 points or more guarantee an IB diploma. Still, as an IB student I can't deny that it's sometimes a little overwhelming so if you don't consider yourself a very “academic” person and prefer to have more free time, then this may not be right program for you. Universities respect both IB and A levels as academically challenging grades so generally speaking it doesn't matter which one you have as long as you've studied right subjects at right level. Understanding real differences between IB Diploma and A levels is key to being able to make right decision. Some students will thrive with greater breadth offered by IB while others will benefit more by being able to reduce what they need to study at A-Levels.

Lucy Tittle
Lucy Tittle

"Lucy Tittle is a seasoned marketing professional and online tutor, recognised for her expertise in driving marketing success across diverse industries. She holds a Master of Arts (MA) in Art History from the University of St. Andrews, where she actively contributed as an art and photography editor for The Tribe Magazine, among other notable roles. Lucy's educational journey also includes A-Levels from Caterham School.With a passion for both education and marketing, Lucy has built a remarkable career. She currently serves as a key member of the Senior Team at The Profs. Additionally, Lucy has held significant roles at The Progressive Technology Centre, Vardags, Dukes Education, and Prior to that Lucy was a professional Tutor, working with Secondary School age students following 11+, GCSE, IB and A-level courses. "

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